Many people are afraid to go to the dentist. In the past, you had the option of suffering through an anxiety-filled visit or skipping the dentist and dealing with the consequences. Now, people with Dentophobia (fear of dentists) have a much better option available with sedation dentistry.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is when medication is used to help a patient relax to get through their visit to the dentist. It can be used for any procedure, from simple cleanings to complex procedures. How much sedation is used depends on the procedure and the level of fear the patient has. Although people sometimes call it “sleep dentistry,” this is usually inaccurate. While some people do go completely “under” and use general anesthesia, most of the time the patient is awake.
Who is Sedation Dentistry For?
Most patients who utilize this type of dentistry have a severe fear of visiting the dentist. There are other people who can also benefit from help relaxing when getting their teeth worked on. Some examples are:
- Those who need a lot of work done (more can be done at one appointment)
- People who have very sensitive teeth
- People who local anesthetic doesn’t work well enough on
- Those who have a low tolerance for pain
- People who have a very sensitive gag reflex
Sedation Dentistry and Children
Very young children benefit from being sedated for many procedures. They often struggle to stay still and are usually confused and afraid about what is going on. Nitrous Oxide is considered safe to use in children and many dentists are trained in the proper ways to administer it.
How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?
When using sedation dentistry, you will still need local anesthetic in your mouth to prevent pain. On top of this, there are four main ways that sedation can be achieved for dental procedures. They are:
This is achieved by inhaling “laughing gas” which is more officially known as nitrous oxide. This is mixed with oxygen. You inhale it through your nose after the dentist places a mask over your face. You will remain fully aware, but feel much more relaxed. The dentist controls the amount of gas you are getting during the whole procedure. If you want to be able to drive yourself home afterward, this is the only type of sedation available to you.
With IV sedation, the dentist can again control the amount of the drugs you are receiving during the process. It works more quickly than inhalation and generally has a more dramatic impact on the patient due to the fact that the drugs are hitting the bloodstream directly.
People who are aware of sedation dentistry usually have heard of oral sedation. This type of sedation can vary greatly in level of drowsiness. Some patients end up dozing off after oral sedation, but they do not fall into a deep sleep. Dentists can give patients a mild or moderate dose. One of the most common drugs used is Halcion, a drug similar to Valium.
For procedures using oral sedation, the patient takes a pill an hour before it starts. The level of sedation will depend on the dose given. Unlike inhaled and IV sedation, the dentist cannot make adjustments while working on your mouth.
Also known as deep sedation, this type of sedation dentistry is for people who are absolutely petrified of sitting in the dentist chair. This method will make you either completely unconscious or nearly so. Patients can get through the procedures but they cannot be easily awakened. Sometimes medications are used to help the patient recover from the effects of the anesthesia more quickly.
Pauly Dental offers full dentistry services at our Wichita, Kansas dental practice. Call Pauly Dental today to discuss your options and available treatment plans. Call us at (316) 263-0889 or send us a message.